Policy and legislation are the backbone of any project implementation in the society. Policies will usually give the direction and the main thrust of a project while legislation will provide the necessary legal authority to enforce the goals of a policy.
Pollution in Nigeria has only in the recent past enjoyed the benefits of National policies and legislations compared to some advanced countries that have experienced the need for a very long time. In this unit we are going to examine issues of policy and legislation in historical perspective and the development in both Nigeria and outside.
National Policy Measures on Pollution Control
The creation of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency in 1988 which later metamorphosed to the Federal Ministry of Environment witnessed the beginning of the consciousness of the environment in Nigeria.
This development was greeted by the enactments of environmental control policies and legislations.
The S.I 19 and SAI 15 of 1991 were regulations specifically on pollution control, as a fall-out of the 1988 event.
Later developments witnessed the transformation of FEPA into the Federal Ministry of Environment and in 2002 the establishment of the Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria (EHORECON).
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These were products of policy to putting in place institutions that will not only address the issues of pollution but also to regulate the practice of personnel and manpower involved in pollution control.
In 2005, the Department of Pollution Control in the Federal Ministry of Environment launched the National Environmental Sanitation Policy (NESP), a policy and national strategy aimed at addressing the issues of sanitation and waste management.
EHORECON also launched the National Environmental Health Practice Regulations (NEHPRs) in 2007 to address among other issues the problem of industries inspection and pollution control.
On a similar note the National Environmental Standards Regulations and Enforcement Agency (NESREA) was established in 2007. Since its establishment NESREA has enacted many national regulations and guidelines on the quality of air, water, soil and biodiversity and wildlife management.
The states and local government councils have follow suit of the national legislations and a times have adapted to suit local situations.
National Legislation on Pollution Control
Some of the common legislative instruments for pollution control in Nigeria include the following:
Environmental Health Officers Registration Council Act; 2002. NESREA Act; of 2007
S.I. 19 of 1991
S.I. 15 of 1991
Public Health Law of 1958 Factories Act of 1958
Environmental Sanitation Laws/Edicts of the various states and The LGAs bye Laws on Sanitation.
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In conclusion, the goals of policies and legislation on pollution control can be summarized as:
- To control the environment from the harmful effects of pollutants
- To protect human health and property damage from the effects of pollution
- To prescribe standards and limitations for pollutants/effluents discharge
- To ensure the conservation of natural resources
- To advance the principles of sustainable development.
The Federal policies and legislation on pollution control provide a policy and legislative instrument for effective control. Legislations vary in scope, depending on the context, specific locality, ecology, customs and traditions. However, the national instrument yet provides the necessary framework for adaptation to local situations.